Worshipful Presiding Officer, Rt Wor DCGM, District Officers, WM and Officers of Killen LOL 1272, Reverend Beacom, Brethren, Sisters, Friends one and all.
I attended the unfurling of Bridgetown LOL379 Banner at the start of the month and the Rt Wor Bro Rev Martin Smyth carried out the duty on that evening and I sat wondering what on earth his rates were that I was invited to carry out the same duty this evening.
(We have heard a synopsis of the history of Killen Pride of the Village LOL1272 and the banners associated through the years from Wor Bro Emery whom members past and present proudly carried and walked behind).
Putting my previous, I hope light hearted remarks aside it was with some surprise but great honour when informed by Bro Jim Clarke that it had been agreed by the Brethren of LOL 1272 I should be invited to carry out the unfurling of this new banner here this evening, an invite which I gladly accepted.
I have been privileged to be invited by the WM and Officers of LOL1272 to attend and carry out the installation of officers here over the past few years and tonight is really the icing on the cake.
I referred to LOL379’s unfurling and the attendance of Rt Wor Bro Rev Martin Smyth and I would like to draw your attention to some of what he said on that evening.
We were on the build up to the General Election and he encouraged all to vote, not for any particular Unionist Party but for the Unionist Party of your choice, however the emphasis was to VOTE.
Brethren and friends all I am not intending to politicise this service and event here this evening but we have seen in recent years the manner to which the Labour Government has appeased terrorism and rewarded those responsible. We have seen Unionism split worse than it ever was over our history, we have seen our Civil and Religious rights taken from us by the use of the Parades Commission and the depths some will go to splitting our Institution as we saw some years ago with the fatalities of those young children in Ballymoney.
The Orange Institution I believe is what holds Unionism together and we must at all costs prevent our enemies from breaking that back bone, whereby Unionists still have the opportunity to unite.
I don’t know if we will ever see one Unionist Party in Northern Ireland as history has shown differently but I do believe that a greater understanding, tolerance and working together for the good of this province rather than self preservation would be a start for all our local politicians.
I don’t say that to offend anyone who may be here this evening involved in politics but you know if our elected representatives can sit down and talk with those either in power or who would wish to be in power at Westminster and indeed as is happening here in Northern Ireland sit in Government with terrorists then why can they not sit down and talk to and reach agreement with their fellow Unionist whom many are Orange Brethren for the good of this Provence.
I would have to comment further and ask those Unionists if indeed they were Unionists why they would go out to a Polling Station and deface a ballot paper in places where an agreed selected Unionist could have won back a seat from republicans namely in Fermanagh South Tyrone where it was clearly seen that the defacing of ballot papers permitted Sinn Fein IRA to regain a seat at Westminster where the people of that Constituency will not be represented yet again.
Many say that the Orange Order and its numbers is a dying tradition. I believe they are wrong. I see many of our Orange Halls being renovated and rebuilt thanks to those whose political representatives are telling us we should respect each other’s traditions. New membership forms and young members being initiated into the Institution, reinstatement of past members and not least the portrayal of that stabilisation by the unfurling of many new banners just like this one tonight, the pride in which it and others will be carried and exhibited in our parades in years to come.
Brethren and friends none of this is the sign of a dying tradition, it is however a clear sign in the words of others, ‘we are not going away’, we are not going to be ashamed of our culture and most important we are not ashamed to demonstrate are Civil and Religious Liberties and our Rights of Freedom on which our Institution is formed.
Worshipful District Master, Worshipful Master, Right Worshipful Deputy County Grand Master, Brethren Sisters, Ladies and Gentlemen after all that said it now gives me great pleasure to carry out the task for which I was invited here this evening and that is to unfurl this new banner on behalf of Killen pride of the Village LOL1272 and wish all present and future members of the lodge Gods Richest Blessings, good health, prosperity and every success in the years to come.
Friday, 28 May 2010
"Centenaries are an occasion when we can look back and celebrate all that has been achieved by the hard work of many people.
In the Orange Institution, history and tradition plays a significant part in our activities. We are an organisation with a long and proud history that actually stretches back over two centuries.
Although we are first and foremost a religious and cultural organisation, it would be wrong to assume that we do not take an interest in politics.
One of the many aspirations shared by Orangemen is to maintain the union with the rest of the United Kingdom.
The union is bigger than the Orange Order or any single political party and I was very pleased when the Grand Master, Robert Saulters, last week spoke out on the subject.
The Grand Master said he believed there should be one big unionist party which was big enough and modern enough to allow people with conflicting opinions to work together for the common purpose of maintaining the union. He said there must be a drive towards unionist unity or at the very least better joined up thinking between unionists.
I agree totally with his comments.
They were timely and most important of all, they were a true reflection of what Orangemen the length and breadth of this country are telling us.
When people like the Grand Master and I call for unionist unity, we are not making party political points. In fact the opposite is true.
We are saying that the one sure way to maintain the union is for unionists to forge a better working relationship and ultimately they can create one big powerful party that will have strength and a shared vision.
As leaders of the Orange Institution, we would be failing our membership if we did not flag up what Orangemen are telling us.
I have been heartened by the strong support for the comments made by the Grand Master.
Of course, there will be those who disagree – and they are entitled to that position – but they are not saying what I hear on the ground.
The Orange Order has a responsibility to articulate the views of its members and it is then up to the politicians to work out the best way forward."
Monday, 24 May 2010
Saturday, 22 May 2010
"I am delighted to be with you tonight to mark the re-opening of this splendid new hall.
It has literally risen from the ashes and I congratulate everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen.
You have shown a wonderful spirit in the face of adversity.
One of the most fulfilling parts of being your Grand Master is that I travel the length and breadth of our jurisdiction, and further afield, and get the chance to listen to the views of Orangemen.
We are a proud organisation with a long history and tradition.
We are also a unique organisation in the Protestant and unionist community in that we have members who represent all the many shades of unionism.
And the message I have been receiving loud and clear is that there is too much division within unionism.
There is a huge groundswell of opinion that there must be a drive towards unionist unity or at the very least better joined up thinking between unionists.
The one phrase which seems to really upset our enemies is unionist unity. They are unable to cope with the prospect and we should take note of that.
Personally, I believe there should be one big unionist party which represents all the views that I hear. It must be a party that is big enough and modern enough to allow people with conflicting opinions to work together for the common purpose of maintaining the union.
That, after all is the single most important political aspiration that we have and we will continue to dilute the union if we continue to fight and bicker among ourselves.
Our enemies, and they are many, are laughing at us.
I know it will not be easy. In fact it will be incredibly difficult and people will have to make concessions and set aside differences that have existed for a long time.
The Orange Order has warned our unionist leaders that the time is right for intelligent and radical thinking about the way forward.
As an institution, we stand ready to play our part – whatever that may be – in working towards a more cohesive unionist community and ultimately ensuring that the union is maintained for future generations.
People like me must stand up and articulate the views of our members.
In the political battle to maintain the union, there is no prize for coming second."
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
The stand will be in the King’s Hall and has been organised by staff from Orange Order headquarters and senior officers of the institution.
The Grand Master of the Orange Order, Robert Saulters said:
“The response to the stand in the past two years has been tremendous. People were delighted to see us and were keen to talk about the various items we had on show and look at our display.This year one of the displays on the stand will feature the Byerley Turk, the ancestor of thoroughbred bloodstock horses.
“Thousands of people visit the show each year, many of them Orangemen and their families, and it gives us a chance to catch up with old friends and to make new ones.”
Born around 1684, the Byerley Turk is believed to have been captured from a Turkish officer by Captain Robert Byerley of the Sixth Dragoon Guards at the Seige of Buda in Hungary in 1686.
The horse saw service with Captain Byerley in King William’s Army at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
Earlier in 1690, a race meeting was held at Down Royal at which the top prize, was won by Captain Byerley’s charger.
The Byerley Turk died in 1706 at the age of 27 but his line continued throughout the bloodstock of the British Isles.
Sunday, 2 May 2010
"Apathy, so-called, should not prevail. We must shake off our disillusion with politics caused by the greed of our century and the broken promises of erstwhile leaders."
He urged citizens, irrespective of colour, class or creed to vote for the candidate, irrespective of Party, who best represented their wish to remain as citizens of the United Kingdom and enjoy the prosperity and privileges of such citizenship.
“The real victory for Northern Ireland in this election will not be the number of seats won, no matter how important that may be. Rather it will be the number of votes cast for the Union and the benefits which flow there from,” he said.
“This election has been billed by some as a battle between Orange and Green. Within the Orange family we do not see it as such; for the Williamite forces at the Boyne proudly wore green ribbons to distinguish them from the Jacobites wearing white markers.
“Indeed those, who criticise us as a Christian organisation for being involved in politics, often display split personalities. They regularly seek such support from religious bodies or as has occurred already in this election received direction from a powerful religious lobby through Roman Catholic bishops.
“The Orange Institution seeks to uphold the Reformed principles of liberty enshrined in the Williamite tradition which has benefitted all in the Commonwealth of Nations and the United States of America.
“Thus we encourage our members and supporters to exercise their franchise which our forefathers won for us. To abstain may cause us to rue the day when we allowed others to be elected to rule over us. “